Staunch McDauntless ran over a nail and his tire went flat.
He pulled over and gave the flat a gritty thousand yard stare, and said, “It’s an entirely different kind of flying.”
Staunch McDauntless surveyed the tattered defensive line.
They’d stood up well for the first six waves, but the claw zombies got through on the seventh, and nearly cut them all to ribbons.
Sargent Pickles lowered his ‘nocs, and noted dully, “They’re coming again. More this time. Looks like this’ll be our last fight.”
Staunch didn’t like the hollow resignation in his old friends voice, and resolved to combat it with something inspiring. He struck a match and said, “You know who didn’t get to be in our last fight? George Zip.” He held the match to his flamethrower’s pilot light until the bit of gore that had snuffed it burned away and the flame hissed and popped back to life.
“What are you talking ‘bout Staunch?” Pickles retorted, snapping the ammo chain into his cannon and hoisting it up. “George literally just died in the last fight.”
Staunch MeDauntless sat brooding at the bar.
Memories of the past few weeks replayed through his head. Battles won and lost. Betrayels and new friendships. All to protect something that wasn’t even real in the first place. Now it was hopeless, and he knew it.
The bell attached to the door jangled as the old, ill fitting thing was wrenched open. Two cloaked figures moved in, settling in stools next to Staunch. The closest figure grabbed a handful of pretzels and munched into them.
Staunch lifted his whiskey and turned to examine them. Could be trouble, but Staunch didn’t really care anymore. “Leon’s getting larger.” He said.
Leon Dopplehammer laughed and lowered his hood. “Hey Staunch.” The figure seated next to Staunch remained motionless for a moment until the bartender tried to walk past, and his hand shot out like a viper and latched onto the bartenders wrist.
He lowered his hood to meet the gaze of the surprised man, revealing Staunch’s old partner, Smith d’Aegis. “These pretzels are making me thirsty.” He croaked dramatically. “Hennegin’s.”
Staunch was not happy to see Smith again. Especially not now. Their partnership had come to an unpleasant end. They weren’t enemies, in Staunch’s reckoning, but they weren’t friends either. Smith needed everything to be a contest, so they had been constant rivals.
Staunch McDauntless’ chimera grunted and raised its head in alarm.
He never does this at home, Staunch thought from astride the mythical beast’s back, instinctively unsheathing his claymore and shotgun. The motion engulfed his shotgun arm in pain, and blood started to well from around the arrow shaft still buried in it. He set the shotgun down and hacked the arrow tail off with his claymore. Then he reached down into a saddle bag and retrieved his duct tape and set about taping the shotgun to the claymore. When he was finished he hefted the work up in his good arm and examined it, then tossed it away in disgust.
Upton, his loyal chimera friend, was looking down the city street. In the night, the building at the end of the street was mostly shrouded in darkness except for a small well lit drive up above which, in bright red buzzing letters it said: EMERGENCY. “The hospital? What is it?” Staunch asked.
Upton looked taken aback at the question for a moment, then pointed a wing towards the hospital while looking at Staunch with an eyebrow raised.
Sensing what he assumed to be his mount’s urgency, Staunch grasped the saddle pommel with his good arm and tightened his legs to signal Upton to take wing. The beast took to the air with a roar. The shotgun nonsensically taped to a sword remained where it had landed in the gutter.